South African Shoestring: The Wild Coast

Our journey was fast-paced and full of action. We barely slept; between the long hours driving and the writing of the blog it was impossible to make time to visit the astral plane. Here we cover the Wild Coast; our favourite places and the best things to do on this part of the South African coastline.

This is part 1 of our 3 part series on the Eastern South African coastline. Follow these links for part 2: The South Coast, and part 3: Zulu-Land.

This coast is full of the fruits of Africa. With pristine beaches and great surf, excellent natural reserves and the friendliest animals inhabiting them, this is a backpacker haven. Indigenous culture here is as rich as the ocean is blue! Xhosa communities line the coast bringing their fantastic food, beautiful language and sustainable way of living.

The people along this coast are incredibly welcoming and you will no doubt share coffees and meals in places you would least expect during your time here! Take time to integrate with the locals as they have an abundance of knowledge to share. Cultural immersion is key!

East London

Nahoon beach is just seconds away from the center of the city and the ocean breeze weaves it's refreshing scent through the congested braai areas at the waters edge. There are a few options for backpackers around, but the real treasures of the area lie outside East London.

The Lion Park is a popular place, offering the opportunity to caress and pose for pictures with the baby cubs. But we strongly advise against it. Read more about Lion Park hereAreena Riverside Resort is a nature reserve a bit further from the crowds. It has gained recognition because of its loving giraffe, Abbey. He is a very caring and friendly male giraffe who was brought up with three children after his mother's death. He kisses and plays around with anyone who makes the effort to pay him a visit, an incredible experience. 

Read about how you can visit Abbey when part 2 of our animal love series is posted in the coming days!

Inkwenkwewzi Game Reserve has incredible activities and great employees who have a lot of knowledge to offer. They also offer accommodation, game drives and many other great activities. Our highlight was definitely our chance to interact with elephants and cheetahs who have been cared for since their mothers were taken by poachers. Communicating with these animals is a once in a lifetime opportunity and touching them in an ethical environment is extremely rare. 

Welcome to Africa!

Read more about this in part 2 of our animal love series to be posted in the coming days!

Coffee Bay 

This area is famous because of it's luscious ecosystems and beautiful landscapes. As the deliciously warm Indian Ocean laps at the rock formations and golden sand beaches you know that this place is paradise.

There are many guesthouses and backpackers around that host locals and international travellers offering a relaxed and enjoyable vibe. Music and enlightening conversation fills the nights and surfing and adventure the days. The Coffee Shack is a great backpackers here with plenty of locals of the Xhosa culture. They arrange tours of traditional communities and the chance to dine with the beautiful people. 

We were lucky enough to spend time with 2 locals Julius and Sid who invited us into their lives for the short time we were there!

You can hike or drive to the hole in the wall or explore Mapuzi where the lost caves of a late Xhosa king and cliff jumps await on the coast line and in the river mouth. There is loads to do and this place is definitively worth a visit.

Port St. Johns 

This beautiful beach town has a lot to discover. It is a hotspot for locals and international travellers. Loud music, braais (bbq in South African slang) and happy people fill the beaches and the streets, but it is surprisingly calm and peaceful. 

The gap and the 3 beaches can be visited by foot easily and they are perfect to have a beautiful time relaxing and enjoying the views. You can also drive to Magwa waterfall, a cascade over a ledge 144 meters up, still filled with water in the drought, an amazing sight!

Don’t miss the Isinuku sulphur mud caves which are a short climb up a sloping rock face. The mud bath at the top is completely natural: locals bathe in the mud (naked or dressed) for healthy skin and therapeutic treatments. Better than a spa!

Backpacking along the Wild Coast is easy and affordable. It offers everything you could hope for from interaction with animals to immersion in traditional cultures. There are few places on Earth with such variety of natural environments and their contents only amplifies how beautiful they truly are.

If you have any questions regarding what to do, how to do it, pricing, timing or anything else, do not hesitate to get in touch. Comment below or contact us!